Emergency Dental Care

How Dangerous is an Infected Tooth?


If you have an infected tooth, you should contact a Sacramento emergency dentist as soon as possible. Aside from being terribly painful, infected teeth can be dangerous in a number of ways.

Symptoms of infected teeth

  • Pain that can be either
  • low-grade and throbbing, or sharp and immediate
  • A bubble of tissue under the painful tooth
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Swelling of the gums and surrounding tissues
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Swollen glands

Infected or abscessed teeth generally come in two different types: acute and chronic. An acute abscess comes on quickly and is identified by a sharp, abrupt pain. Chronic abscesses may linger for months with low-grade pain. These can be more dangerous than the acute type because the patient may put off treatment, since they can live with the pain. However, during this time serious damage to the tooth, the bone in the jaw, and the soft tissue can occur. By the time the patient goes to the dentist, it may be too late to save the tooth or those surrounding it and the infection may have expanded beyond the teeth. If you live in Sacramento and have any type of dental pain, it’s important to be seen by an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

The Dangers of Infected Teeth

Although it may seem that the worst consequence of an infected tooth is the loss of the tooth, the truth is an infected tooth can lead to systemic illness that causes damage to other organs in the body. If left untreated long enough, an infected tooth can cause fatal illness. An emergency dentist can help prevent this from happening.

When a tooth in the lower jaw becomes infected, it can cause swelling to occur in the cheek and neck. If the swelling becomes too severe, it can interfere with swallowing and breathing to the point where the patient may die.

Ludwig’s angina is a type of cellulitis that occurs in the mouth and is caused by infected teeth. It involves the tissues under the tongue. Cellulitis is a serious bacterial infection that can kill if left untreated. An emergency dentist can prescribe antibiotics to destroy the infection.

When the infected tooth is in the upper jaw, swelling moves upward, into the cheek, temple and below the eye. The swelling can cause the eye to gradually close. This can also lead to a condition called cavernous sinus thrombosis. This is a serious infection of the sinus cavities that requires antibiotic treatment and could be fatal.

Bacterial infections have the potential to become very serious very fast. If you suspect an infected tooth, see a Sacramento emergency dentist right away. With today’s high quality dental treatment and antibiotics, there is no reason for an infected tooth to turn into a life-threatening scenario.